Hollywood actress and dog lover Emily Berry jumped at the chance to make a video to help her hometown win $100,000 for a new dog park. Jacksonville leads the pack in the PetSafe Bark for Your Park online contest.

Berry is most known for appearances in commercials for Geico (titled Auctioneer) and a Dirty Dancing parody for United Healthcare (Our Song). She costarred on The Neighbors and Grey’s Anatomy and has acted in film, commercials, theater and web projects. For the public service announcement she grabbed some friends and a pair of rescue dogs to get the message out that towns with dog parks have fewer dogs abandoned at shelters and fewer dogs euthanized.


The video was shot beneath the foothills displaying the Hollywood sign and features dog actors Barney and Ellie Mae plus a friend who served as a third dog. “I could only handle two dogs,” Berry said. ”The dogs aren’t used to taking direction, so it was an adventure wrangling them.”

Ellie Mae was in a litter of puppies found in an abandoned house and adopted by Berry at 6 weeks. “I think she was a cheerleader in a past life, she’s a very enthusiastic dog,” Berry said. Also featured was Barney, a Lhasa Apso found on the streets at 6 months and adopted from Pasadena Humane Society by a buddy of Berry’s.

“A lot of my friends live in apartments and don’t have a place to play with their dogs,” Berry said. They like to come use her big back yard and also go to dog parks. Berry is a big supporter of dog rescues and has donated to the Protecting Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelter in Jacksonville. Lisa Jackson, director of PAWS, suggested Berry as the perfect person to make a video and help the community.

The video appears on contest sponsor PetSafe’s YouTube channel. A link to the video, as well as links to vote, can be found at jaxbark.com or Jacksonville Bark for Your Park on Facebook.

Steve Warmowski, president of the Jacksonville Park Foundation which is coordinating with campaigners in the contest, said it takes less than half a minute a day for dog lovers and community boosters to vote. The community currently leads the pack in the contest which runs through July 22nd.

Berry lives in Van Nuys, California, and has a second dog Bubba, a rescue she found via PetFinder. “I could only wrangle two dogs, so Bubba is not in the video. But he’s very smart so he helped me write the script,” Berry joked. “He reminds me of Morgan Freeman.”

Video link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep6dC7DlGWA&feature=youtu.be

Jacksonville is currently the national leader in the Bark for Your Park contest. PetSafe​ sponsors the​ contest because communities with dog parks have fewer dogs abandoned in shelters and fewer dogs euthanized. We need you to help push further ahead of the competition, and to win $100,000 for a new dog park for the community. You can help by recruiting people to the team. Like Jacksonville Bark for Your Park on Facebook and bark twice a day! 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and again 2) Facebook http://bit.ly/1KmWkhh

Emily Berry on Facebook or Emily Berry resume

Volunteers have built up great trails on the east edge of Mauvaisterre Lake in Jacksonville (On Woods Lane, first bridge south of Country Club Road). Cyclists from all over the region come ride, you should check them out, too.

Here’s a different way to enjoy the trails — at night. Rides start about an hour before sunset. The bravest riders will hang around until after the sun goes down, strap on lights and ride into the dark. Arooooooo!

Please check the Jacksonville Recreational Trails​ Facebook page before the ride to make sure they’re not too muddy. Please respect the work of volunteers and don’t rut the trails. Updates on the group’s Facebook event. No registration — no sponsor. This is a crowd-sourced event on park land.

First ride is Friday July 31st. If you can’t make it Friday, come out Saturday.

Later in the year rides can switch to Friday, or Friday and Saturday (depending on feedback). Come on out and enjoy the trails with friends. Here’s the full schedule for the year.

  • July 31-Aug 1 7pm – Alpha Dog Ride
  • Aug 28-29 7pm – Back to School
  • Sept 25-26 6pm – Harvest Moon
  • Oct 30-31 5pm – Halloween Ride (wear a costume)
  • Nov 27-28 3:30pm – Work off the Turkey Ride
Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook
Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Edited — Ride scheduled for July 4th called off due to the wettest June in modern Illinois history. Please respect work of volunteers and don’t ride and rut muddy trails.

Press release — For Immediate Release

With a show of support from the community, Jacksonville succeeded in making it into the final round of the PetSafe Bark for Your Park Contest.

Voting starts noon Wednesday, June 17, with the top prize of $100,000 for a new dog park within reach. Go to jaxbark.com or Jacksonville Bark for Your Park on Facebook to find out how to participate and help.

“PAWS couldn’t be happier with the support everyone has given our entry in Bark for Your Park,” said the group’s founder Lisa Jackson. “Once voting resumes Wednesday we hope to have just as much support if not more. This is an amazing community and I know this is possible. Let’s get to barking and win that $100,000 prize.”

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard celebrated the win of the first round of the contest. “Our community always steps up when a good project is on the line,” he said. “It’s been very obvious to me that we have many people who are dedicated to see a dog park come our way.”

“With PAWS, Scott County Dog Rescue, Dog P.E.N. and the on-line group supporting Morgan County Animal Control we have what it takes to win,” said Steve Warmowski of the Jacksonville Park Foundation. “Those interested in helping the community and dogs need to show their support and vote twice a day.”

The park foundation, PAWS, Pet Supplies Plus and others will have a series of Friday events to boost the campaign. The first is a launch at noon Friday, June 19th at the proposed site for the new dog park, 894 E. Vandalia, across from Nichols Park. People and their dogs are invited to come out and take part.

Other events include Dogs ’n Suds on Friday, June 26 at PAWS; a Bank Bark-off Friday, July 3; participation in the 4th of July Blast and parade; Smokey the Fire Dog appearance during the Morgan County Fair Friday, July 10; and a Final Push Party at Pet Supplies Plus Friday, July 17. See the website or Facebook page for updates.

Contest sponsor PetSafe​ has said they put on the contest because communities with dog parks have fewer dogs abandoned in shelters and fewer dogs euthanized. Info and links are at jaxbark.com. Voting links are 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and 2) Facebook http://bit.ly/1KmWkhh. Contest ends 11 pm July 22.


This is it! Voting in the final round of PetSafe’s Bark For Your Park contest starts noon Wednesday, and you can help Jacksonville win $100,000 for a new dog park.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation, PAWS and others are working to build community support — but this is a community-wide effort and your help is needed for Jacksonville to win. Here’s some things you can do . . .

  • Vote twice a day starting noon Wednesday June 17th. You can bark once on the web at http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and then again on Facebook at http://bit.ly/1KmWkhh.
  • Get friends to like our Jacksonville Bark for Your Park on Facebook and refer friends to our portal website jaxbark.com to learn how to vote.
  • If you run a web page or a email list, add contest info to your messaging (see end of post for sample text). Have your club, church or group get the message out.
  • Contact Production Express 217.243.4258 and they can add your logo to a template they have and make cards for you to hand out at your business. Or, go to PetSafe’s web site and get promotional graphics you can use or customize.
  • Add Bark for Your Park info to your advertising. Tell people to go to jaxbark.com to learn how to vote.
  • Have your business offer a short-term incentive to get your customers involved (idea borrowed from a winning town). Such as get us to XX,XXX votes by this day, and we’ll donate money to PAWS or do a half-price/free stuff offer. You can contact Steve Warmowski 217.245.4178 or use the contact form at the end of this post to set a target, coordinate and help spread the word.
  • Put up a banner from Lomelino Sign Co. 217.243.2444. They can use an image we sent them, or customize one of the contest templates.

Here’s some sample text . . . PetSafe​ sponsors the Bark for Your Park​ contest because communities with dog parks have fewer dogs abandoned in shelters and fewer dogs euthanized. So help Jacksonville win $100,000 by liking Jacksonville’s contest Facebook page. Info on how to vote at jaxbark.com. Bark twice a day at 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and again 2) Facebook http://bit.ly/1KmWkhh.

Don’t forget C&A Construction will donate a dollar to PAWS for every vote for Jacksonville from now until June 10th in the Bark for Your Park Contest. See full story.

Bark twice a day at 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and
2) Facebook http://bit.ly/1KmWkhh. Get background info at jaxbark.com.

Note: above Facebook link is new and seems to make voting easier — please give feedback.

Jacksonville is holding in 10th place, here’s the numbers . . .


Place Town 05/18/15 05/20/15 05/22/15 05/26/15
1 Watkinsville, GA 917 1249 1689 2630
2 Epworth, IA 1029 1481 1832 2477
3 LaGrange, GA 776 1144 1601 2424
4 Moore, OK 795 1221 1551 2284
5 Merrimack, NH 676 960 1225 1778
6 East Hartford CT 752 896 1109 1700
7 Fort Gratiot, MI 500 857 1158 1667
8 Barstow CA 393 760 1085 1591
9 Bryant AR 363 774 962 1341
10 Jacksonville 457 679 859 1298
11 West Winfield, NY 303 529 734 1197
12 Oswego, IL 194 547 760 1112
13 Jesup, GA 419 592 689 1012
14 Winslow, AZ 320 463 567 956
15 Stanaford, WV 253 449 596 848
Vacaville, CA 380 508 625 843

C&A Construction of Jacksonville has offered a challenge to help the community in the Bark for Your Park contest. C&A will donate a dollar to PAWS for every vote for Jacksonville from now until June 10th.

Help PAWS and all dogs in the community via our PetSafe contest entry by barking twice a day at 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and 2) Facebook http://on.fb.me/1EFm19a — get background info at jaxbark.com.

Remi the labradors


PAWS (Protecting Animal Welfare Society) is a non-profit animal protection organization at 400 W. Walnut St., Jacksonville IL 62650. Follow PAWS on Facebook.

Thanks to owners Clint & Abbi Stevens for supporting PAWS and this effort to bring a new dog park to Jacksonville. Their lab, Remi, was killed in a tragic accident earlier this month — and their votes in the contest are in his memory. “Our dogs need a safe place to run, play, and enjoy themselves free from danger.”Be sure to like C&A Construction on Facebook. C&A Construction, 321 Finley St., Jacksonville IL 62650.

Posted by Abbi Bradish Stevens 05/25 in comments on Jacksonville page on PetSafe’s web site . . .
Voting daily in memory of our sweet boy Remi! RIP buddy, we miss you dearly. Our other 2 Labs, Harley and Koda, would love a safe place to run and play with other dogs. Keep up the votes Jacksonville, IL.!!!

Entry Period voting ends June 10, Finalists cities will be notified June 15. Voting in the final round starts June 17 and ends July 22. See rules for more details. Jacksonville is in the running for $100,000 or one of four $25,000 runner-up prizes offered by PetSafe in the contest.

Show your support for a new dog park by attending the Jacksonville City Council meeting starting at 6:30 pm Tuesday May 26th at City Hall. After the park is figured out, head over to The Soap Co. Coffee House for further discussion on ways to goose voting. Say you’re coming using the Facebook event.

Remember the Breed Specific Legislation meeting? Let’s get as many people out for something POSITIVE. The second most common reason dogs are dumped at shelters is due to behavioral issues — dog parks give a venue to burn off energy and socialize dogs, reducing behavior problems.

Be sure to keep voting for Jacksonville to win $100,000 for a dog park in the PetSafe Bark for Your Park contest.
1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1
2) Facebook http://on.fb.me/1EFm19a

Currently Jacksonville is holding at 10th place. The top 15 vote getters backed by support, plans and budgeting by their city make it to the final round. One town wins $100,000 and 4 runner-ups get $25,000. This entry period of the contest lasts until June 10th.

Jacksonville is currently in 10th place. Thanks so much for all your support!

Place Town 05/18/15 05/20/15 05/22/15
1 Epworth, IA 1029 1481 1832
2 Watkinsville, GA 917 1249 1689
3 LaGrange, GA 776 1144 1601
4 Moore, OK 795 1221 1551
5 Merrimack, NH 676 960 1225
6 Fort Gratiot, MI 500 857 1158
7 East Hartford CT 752 896 1109
8 Barstow CA 393 760 1085
9 Bryant AR 363 774 962
10 Jacksonville 457 679 859
Oswego, IL 194 547 760
West Winfield, NY 303 529 734
Jesup, GA 419 592 689
Vacaville, CA 380 508 625
Stanaford, WV 253 449 596




Story by Steve Warmowski

Jacksonville City Council Parks & Lake Committee Chair Marcy Patterson has called a meeting today to talk about the community’s entry in Bark for Your Park contest. The dog park meeting will be at 9 am Thursday May 21st at city hall.

The city has to show support for the contest in order to be selected for the finalist round. The contest entry period runs until June 10th, and finalists are announced June 15th. The only full city council meeting before this deadline is Tuesday May 26th (study session at 6:30 pm, followed by the official meeting).

The PetSafe contest has two components at this stage — voting by the public, and an official entry including the city identifying land for a new park and presenting letters of support from city leaders.

Below are current vote totals. Thanks to all who are helping Jacksonville win $100,000 or $25,000 for a dog park. Bark twice a day at 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and 2) Facebook http://on.fb.me/1EFm19a. At this stage we are in the Top 10. (Note – I will try to clean up the table next time, but for now here are the numbers. Top 10 in bold.)

Top 10 • Town • Population • voting as of 5/18 • as of 5/20

10 Jacksonville 19.4k 457 679

Alliance OH 177 210

Barstow CA 22.6k 393 760

Beckley WV164202

Billerica, MA 171 253

Brighton MI 124 136

Bryant AR363774

East Hartford CT 51.2k 752 896

East Liverpool, OH 125 138

Edgerton WI 158 207

Epworth, IA 1.8k 1029 1481

Erie County NY 196 268

Fort Gratiot, MI 10.6k 500 857

Holbrook, MA 172 270

Jesup, GA 10.2k 419 592

Jonesboro, AR 175 233

Laconia, NH 181 254

LaGrange, GA 30.4k 776 1144

Lawrenceburg, KY 249 300

Margate, FL 135 183

McPherson, KS 109 146

Merritt Island, FL 128 193

Merrimack, NH 25.5k 676 960

Mexico Beach, FL 206 284

Moore, OK 55k 795 1221

Oswego, IL 194 547

Parma, OH 253 428

Portland, TX 356 481

Portsmouth, RI 104 198

Potsdam, NY 109 146

Stanaford, WV 253 449

Vacaville, CA 380 508

Watkinsville, GA 2.8k 917 1249

West Winfield, NY 303 529

Willmar, MN 140 267

Winslow, AZ 320 463



Harry Ford of the Morgan Cyclists announces two new weekend events to the May schedule for the Jacksonville, Illinois bicycling club. All rides: helmet required, no SAG.

Sunday May 24th Hit the Brix – Inaugural Refractory Ride to Alsey. Woodson to Alsey and back again, 29 miles. Meet at the Triangle Club 9:30 Register/10:00 Ride. Want to add more miles? Start in Jacksonville and ride to Woodson in time for the 10am departure. Free snacks will be available at Alsey Community Park.

Saturday May 30th Around the Square – Around the Lake. Start downtown on East State Street off the square at 9:45 am. Route will go around Lake Jacksonville. End back downtown and join in the Downtown Celebration to get food and drink.

And don’t forget the final Wednesday 5:30 ride on May 27th. Meet at the Triangle Club in Woodson. See how to join and more about the bike club.

As folks in town are voting for Jacksonville in the PetSafe Bark for Your Park contest, we have been getting lots of feedback that the Facebook app is buggy on phones and tablets. Thanks so much for trying! We are doing well in the contest, and please keep voting using the web page. Here’s some screen shots to help you vote on mobile devices . . .

In Facebook, search for “Bark for Your Park 2015″


Select the app (the one with the green box icon)


Open the App


Type in 62650, click Search then select Jacksonville, IL




Note that after you search the first time, the next time you tap the search bar the Bark for Your Park app will show up on your search list (so one step will be eliminated).

After you are done you can also vote using the web pageBark twice a day.

These screen shots are from an iPhone. If there is a difference using Android, or if you find a more efficient way, please let us know. 





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.